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Rangers shutout by Falcons

No. 1 ranked La Salle beats Estacada 30-0


For the Estacada Rangers, last Friday’s matchup against La Salle wasn’t their first chance to see what a top-five team in the state looks like. In fact, it wasn’t even their second, having already played No. 2 Gladstone and No. 4 Scappoose this season.by: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: LOREN NIBBE - Estacada quarterback Bryan Rhone fights for tough yardage against La Salle, but the Rangers were shutout at home.

The question for Estacada, however, was which of those two games would most resemble their game against No. 1 ranked La Salle.

Against Scappoose earlier this season, the Rangers lost a tightly contested game 26-20, while their visit from Gladstone resulted in a 46-7 beating.

Last week, while the 30-0 score might have more closely resembled the Gladstone result, it was the Scappoose game that provided a more accurate description of what the game looked like on the field.

“It’s hard to downgrade what we did against them defensively, because up until six minutes left in the game, they only had 142 total yards of offense,” Estacada head coach Brigham Baker said. “If we look at eliminating their 90-yard touchdown run, a kickoff returned for a touchdown and a safety, then suddenly it's a 14-0 ball game.”

As Baker eluded to, defense was not the issue for Estacada — it was offense.

After a quick three-and-out for Estacada on the game’s opening drive, the Ranger punt was partially blocked, giving the Falcons the ball in Estacada territory. La Salle would move the ball all the way down to the Rangers seven, but a fumbled snap was pounced on by defensive end Jacob Lensch, bailing Estacada out.

A large factor in the fumble was likely the buckets of rain coming down throughout the first half — the first rain an Estacada home game had seen all season.

On the ensuing Rangers possession, quarterback Bryan Rhone threw into triple coverage looking for Lensch, and the pass was intercepted and returned all the way to the Ranger 29 yard line.

Five plays later, La Salle opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the first quarter.

After another failed Rangers drive in which they did earn their first first-down of the game, La Salle took over in good field position for the third consecutive drive, at midfield.

The Falcons drove all the way down to the two-yard line, but once again, the opportunistic Estacada defense capitalized on another La Salle mistake, recovering a fumble at the two-yard line.

Desperately needing to move the ball in order to regain some decent field position, the Rangers took over from their own end zone, when suddenly the game changed before anyone knew what hit them.

As Bryan Rhone dropped back to pass, he was sacked in the end zone for a safety, forcing Estacada to kick the ball right back to La Salle.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons returned the kick for a touchdown, quickly opening up their lead to 17-0.

“We weren’t getting any push on the run, so we thought if we could step back and throw the ball, we’d be OK,” Baker said. “When Bryan (Rhone) dropped back to pass, they were rushing four guys and we had six guys blocking, but we had a tough time picking their stunt up, so they snuck through and got him.

“After that, our heads were down a bit, and so we let them run it back for a touchdown. That would have been an easy point to let this turn into another Gladstone-type game.”

In a slice of good news for Baker, his team wouldn’t let that happen.

Despite the quick turn of events and the daunting task of coming back from three scores down against one of the top teams in the state, the Rangers didn’t quit.

On their next possession, the Rangers mounted their longest drive of the game before turning the ball over on downs. La Salle would march 71 yards on their next drive for their third touchdown of the half, extending the lead to 24-0 with just 10 seconds left on the clock.

The second half, however, was a completely different story.

In its first four possessions of the second half, La Salle failed to gain a single first down, as the Ranger defense buckled down.

Offensively, the Rangers seemed to build a bit of momentum, taking their first drive of the fourth quarter into scoring position for the first time all game. The drive looked to be on the verge of stalling as Estacada faced fourth-and-three from the Falcons’ five yard line before Brandon Beck muscled his way for a Rangers first down.

From their, however, the drive fell apart.

First it was a fumbled snap that was recovered for a loss of three, then a false start, a five yard gain and then another eight yard loss. On fourth-and-goal from the six, the Rangers came up two yards short.

With all of the momentum gone, the Ranger defense had one brief slip up on the next Falcon possession, but it was all they needed. With one missed assignment, La Salle’s running back bolted 90-yards up the middle untouched for the game’s final touchdown, extending the lead to 30-0 with six minutes remaining.

On the ensuing extra point, the Falcons try was stopped, however Estacada’s Ryan Vauthier was badly shaken up on the play. After lying on the field for more than five minutes, he was eventually moved to the team’s bench, where he was tended to until the game was over before being treated by EMTs.

“The closest I could tell was that his neck got pushed back, but fortunately his head wasn’t down, because that could have been catastrophic,” Baker said. “My understanding is that he has a sprained neck and a concussion and he told me he’s out for four weeks. I’m thrilled he’s OK, because it’s one of those things that could have been awful.”

The Rangers had one last gasp with less than two minutes remaining as Steven Weaver returned a punt all the way to the Falcons’ 11 yard line, but an Estacada interception at the three ended the drive and sealed the win for La Salle.

“Defensively, I think we played them much tougher than anyone other than Philomath and a team from Hawaii,” Baker said. “Defensively, we stayed with the plan we had in place and I think they got worn down a bit. We were also able to hold their passing game in check, partly because of the rain, but I don’t know if they would have thrown the ball with success against us even without the rain, and that's the No. 1 quarterback in the state. It was just one of those games when you play good enough defensively, but offensively we didn’t play good at all.”

The Rangers have their final regular season game this Friday at Madras.



Local Weather

Fair

57°F

Estacada

Fair

Humidity: 72%

Wind: 22 mph

  • 25 Oct 2014

    Rain/Wind 62°F 47°F

  • 26 Oct 2014

    Rain 54°F 45°F